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Anne
Anne
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till she could cross the sea in safety. Twelve armed vessels, full of Normans, were sent by the King of France to intercept her. The Duke of Brabant, however, who was Anne's uncle, sent to remonstrate with the French king, Charles V, who thereupon ordered the Normans into port, declaring that he did so merely for the love of his cousin Anne, and out of no regard for the King of England. She then pursued her journey, accompanied by the Duke of Brabant to Gravelines, where the Earls of Salisbury and Devonshire received her with a guard of 500 spears, and conducted her to Calais. After waiting some time for a favourable wind, she embarked on Wednesday morning, 18 Dec., and reached Dover the same day. Scarcely had she landed when a heavy ground swell of quite an unusual character dashed the vessels in port against each other, and the very ship in which she had come over was broken to pieces by the violence of the sea.

On the third day after her landing she went on to Canterbury, where she was met by the king's uncle, Thomas, afterwards Duke of Gloucester. The city of London gave her a magnificent reception, and she was married to Richard on 14 Jan. 1382 at St. Stephen's Chapel, Westminster. Her coronation followed on the 22nd. From all that is known of her disposition and character we may believe that her coming did something to secure a brief interval of peace to a distracted country; but it was a stormy period, and within a very few years the cruelties practised by the serfs were almost outdone by the acts of the parliament truly named as ‘Merciless.’ Even before that date an incident occurred which gives striking evidence of ferocity in high places. In 1385, when the king was on his way to Scotland, Sir Ralph de Stafford, a knight in the queen's service, was murdered at York by the king's own half-brother, Sir John Holland. The murdered man was at the time on his way to London with messages to the queen. He was the son of the Earl of Stafford, and was a boon companion of Richard, with whom he had been brought up from an early age. His father applied to the king for justice. The murderer took refuge in the sanctuary of Beverley; but Richard confiscated his goods and showed his determination to punish crime even where the closest family ties stood in the way. The king's mother, who was also mother of the murderer, strove in vain to intercede, and died of grief that her prayers were ineffectual. After her death, apparently, Richard at length consented to pardon the crime.

The incident just recorded arose, as we are informed by Froissart, out of an encounter between Sir John Holland's retinue and that of a Bohemian knight, whose life one of Stafford's archers had been able to protect only by slaying one of Holland's squires. The queen had brought with her into England, besides Bohemian fashions such as ladies' side saddles and the extraordinary cap worn by ladies in those days, a numerous body of Bohemian followers, who not only excited national prejudice against them, but added to the expenses of a very expensive court. There is no appearance that the queen herself shared their unpopularity. The respect with which she is spoken of by contemporary writers leads us to infer the contrary. The devoted attachment of her husband, who seldom allowed her to quit his side, was of a kind unusual among royal personages. But the great expenses of the household had certainly a good deal to do with the approaching struggle between king and parliament, which forms the turning point of Richard's reign. On one point only—though the fact is not very well authenticated—does it seem that Anne carried her friendship and partiality too far; for it is said that she wrote to Pope Urban VI in favour of the divorce which the Duke of Ireland sought in order that he might marry one of her Bohemian maids of honour. On what pretence such a suit was instituted we do not know; but it was deeply resented in England, as the duchess was a daughter of Ingram de Coucy, earl of Bedford, and was cousin german to the king himself.

In 1387 the Duke of Ireland and the other ministers, by whose advice the king had been guided, were forced to fly the country by a confederacy of five leading noblemen with Gloucester at their head, who marched up to London with an army of 40,000 men and took possession of the capital. Gloucester even aimed at the king's deposition, but found that he could not reckon surely on the support of his confederates. The five lords, however, took possession of the government, removed a number of ladies from the royal household, and called to a severe reckoning all those other friends of the king who had not yet escaped. Under their direction the ‘Merciless Parliament’ (1388) caused the whole body of the judges to be arrested, and the king's late ministers condemned as traitors. They banished the former to Ireland, and the king's confessor also, because he had concealed from the five lords the policy of the king's council. They impeached and sent to the block Sir Simon Burley and some others. Burley was an old companion in arms of the Black Prince, who had committed to him